Patience. A Story from the Paterikon

About a monk going from one monastery to another, unable to tolerate the vexation caused by the brethren

There are people who always look for that “greener grass” growing on the other side. In any circumstances they always complain about their environment where everything is not good for them and everyone offends them. “If only I could settle over there,” they say, “things would be different.” Such people are always after something and rushing from one place to another. When will they ever find peace? If they do not abandon their fervor and impatience, they will never find it; but if they arm themselves with patience and discretion, they will find it very soon.

One monk was living in a cenobitic monastery, where five brothers loved him, and one insulted him. The monk could not tolerate the insults and left for another monastery with a view to find peace there. Then eight brothers began to love him, while two still hated him. He ran to a third community where seven loved him and five hated him. Not knowing what to do, the monk said, “I’ll go somewhere else, it will be better for me there.” and went to a fourth monastery. He was still on his way when one day he sat down to rest and thought, “What will happen if I continue to run from place to place? I will hardly find peace anywhere in the whole world then. Perhaps I should try to endure this” Upon that he took a scroll and wrote, “I will endure everything for the sake of Jesus Christ, the Son of God!” Tying this inscription to his belt, he came to the new monastery and stayed there for good. Just as it had happened previously, after a very short time, he began to feel offended again. But he did not lose heart; every time he received an insult from someone, he read his scroll and immediately recovered his temper. Finally, his patience completely triumphed. His offenders asked him for forgiveness and stopped hurting him.

So, brethren, it is not the people we live with that make us happy or unhappy, but the virtue that we form in ourselves while living with them. Everywhere on earth, people are people , not angels. We are not in heaven, so instead of blaming others, it is better to look inside ourselves for reasons of our own afflictions, or, quite simply, to have patience. Patience is the cure for all troubles. Being able to endure means being able to live in peace. Amen.

Translated by The Catalogue of Good Deeds
Source: Viktor Guriev. Synaxarium in Sermons for Each Day of the Year

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